The CARES Act, which Congress passed a few months ago and is commonly referred to as the economic stimulus package, is scheduled to expire in less than two weeks. This event presents a troubling financial scenario for the unemployed and low income communities. Families will lose six hundred dollars and at the same time the prohibition against landlords evicting families will have expired. What should you do if faced with these financial dilemmas?
1. DEVELOP A PLAN
While this might be short notice, it is absolutely essential that you devise a financial plan to address the shortfall in your budgeted income. Deciding what to cut in this Covid-19 economic environment has become increasingly difficult. For example, in the past I might have suggested that in order to adjust your short fall of $600.00 you should cut your cable or internet bill. This seems less of a viable choice now given how crucial internet services have become in light of remote work and the impending school year with distance learning for students who cannot return to the class room for in-person education.
With this in mind, I encourage you to take a careful look at what you cut. Instead of cutting out one thing, you may have to cut back on a few things. So leave room for several cuts in your planning. You may even have to alternate payments on some bills. While you may not be able to pay a creditor in full, you should send in partial payments. It may not get you off the hook entirely, but it will show the creditor your willingness and intent to make good on your obligation. These strategies do not exclude reaching out to your creditors for any additional or extended credit options.
2. HOUSING EVICTION
While you are short on your $600.00 stimulus, contacting your landlord and beginning correspondence concerning pre-eviction options should the government eviction prohibition expire, is a useful exercise. After you have explored your options, get educated or informed on the eviction laws and what your rights are as a tenant in the eviction process. Since your finances are low, you should visit your local landlord tenant courthouse and seek free legal assistance as you negotiate some payment options to remain in your apartment. Finally, you may even consider reducing the size of your rental apartment as a short term solution with the landlord.
I leave you with a statement from Raymond McCauley,
“change what you can, manage what you can’t.”